March 17, 2013

'Big dance' cards set

In all, 68 hopefuls are looking for a Final Four date at Atlanta, led by the No. 1 seeds: Louisville, Kansas, Indiana and Gonzaga.

By PAUL NEWBERRY The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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The Associated Press

"It's going to happen. A 16 is going to beat a 1 eventually," Kansas Coach Bill Self said. "This is a unique tournament. I haven't studied the bracket, but I would expect the unexpected. There will be a lot of mild upsets in this tournament."

Miami became the first ACC team to be denied a top seed after winning both the regular season and the conference tournament.

"We try to control the things we can control," Coach Jim Larranaga said. "We have no control over that. Wherever they seed us, wherever they send us, whoever we play, we'll get ready just like we do for every game."

The Hurricanes were among the No. 2 seeds with conference rival Duke, Georgetown from the Big East, and Big Ten tournament champion Ohio State.

"If we had five spots, Miami would be there with us," Bobinski said. "In the final analysis, we put Gonzaga just ahead of them. But it was very, very close."

Duke, which had been atop the RPI rankings, cost itself a shot at a No. 1 seed with an upset loss to Maryland in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. Georgetown lost in the Big East semifinals and settled for a No. 2 as well, but Indiana was in no danger of dropping off the top line, despite its loss to the Badgers. Bobinski said the Hoosiers' overall body of work was good enough to ensure they didn't fall below one of the top four spots, no matter what happened Sunday.

The tournament begins Tuesday with a pair of games in Dayton, Ohio. Everyone is trying to get to Atlanta for the Final Four, which starts April 6 at the Georgia Dome.

If Louisville advances to the round of 16, there's a chance Pitino would get to match up with Oklahoma State Coach Travis Ford, a regional MVP on Pitino's Kentucky team that made it to the Final Four two decades ago.

"I hope we get the opportunity. That would be nice," Ford said. "I agree with the NCAA committee that they're the No. 1 overall seed, after watching them play (Saturday) night and what they've done lately in the Big East."

On Thursday, Gonzaga takes on Southern in the second round of the West Regional at Salt Lake City. The Zags will be relishing their first No. 1 seed, though they are hardly a tournament neophyte; this is their 15th straight NCAA appearance, a mid-major program that has shown it can hang with the big boys.

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